2012 - 2013 Pell Grant Eligibility

Students interested in receive a Pell Grant during the Fall 2012 or Spring 2013 school semesters will have to meet new requirements established by the federal government.  These new requirements were made in order to meet the $1 Billion + Pell Grant budget deficit.  The new Pell Grant eligibility and requirements are outlined within the 2012 new budget that was passed by congress on December 16, 2011.
2012 - 2013 Pell Grant Eligibility Changes

Students that do not have a US high school diploma or a GED are no longer eligible to receive the Pell Grant.  This impacts many immigrant students since they may not have degrees that are recognized by the United Stated education system.  Students must have at least a GED to become eligible to receive the Pell Grant starting in 2012.

Students are only eligible to receive the Pell Grant for up to eight semesters compared to twelve semesters in previous years, which impacts African-Americans and transfer students the most.  African Americans make up 41% of all Pell Grant recipients that takes six or more years to receive a degree.  Transfer students also usually take more than eight semesters to complete their program, since they have other responsibilities besides school.

The income level that allows students to receive the maximum Pell Grant amount has also changed during the 2012 - 2013 school year.  Students must now have an income of $23,000 or less to be considered for the maximum Pell Grant amount.  This is $7,000 less than the 2011-2012 school year.  Having a lower income level requirement means fewer students will be eligible to receive the full Pell Grant award amount of $5,550. 
The maximum Pell Grant award amount has not changed for the 2012-2013 school year and still remains at $5,550.  Many within the financial aid industry expected congress to cut the Pell Grant maximum amount, so it was a real surprise to see that there were no cuts made in this area.

All new 2012 Pell Grant Requirements will not take effect until July 1, 2012.  Students must complete the 2012-2013 FAFSA Application in order to be eligible to receive the Pell Grant.  Students must also complete a new FAFSA every school year in order to be eligible to receive federal financial aid.
Pell Grant Requirements